The last 12 months saw many long-distance phone calls and extended time spent with loved ones that in other years was in short supply. Among the anxiety and workarounds, we endured a sort of tutorial that showed us what’s important and how fragile our society is.
The period also was full of disruption, worry and, of course, profound loss for many of you. But if we look back at the chaos and societal pressure we have all survived, we have a historical phenomenon from which we can learn and help inform the decisions we make about our lives.Dr. Sandro LaRocca, director and founder, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute.
Prior generations of humanity have endured plagues, wars, earthquakes, ice ages (there was a “little ice age” in Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries) and famines. Humanity is no stranger to suffering and disruption. In fact, each major crisis, once subsided, provided a new framework for how people lived, worked, farmed and treated one another.
Our modern society is a result of the wisdom earned through those moments. In other words, you have a refrigerator full of food because we have learned how to efficiently continue agriculture on a large scale after serial famines and crop failures. As a surgeon, many protocols and operating room practices were developed over time in response to crises or problems that required solutions — anesthesia, infection control and pain management, to name a few.
So, let’s examine how in the aftermath of the greatest pandemic in 100 years, we can live smarter, better and wiser in making decisions about our own health and quality of life. In trying to prevent COVID infection, we learned that being proactive about our health can save lives.
We learned that tomorrow is never guaranteed and what activities we took for granted as we missed them. So now that we know better, how do we deploy that experiential wisdom to practical decision making in our own lives?
When life begins to resemble the “Golden Age of Pre-COVID,” don’t you want to feel your very best? I certainly learned that my loved ones deserve my very best and need my support and presence. I also learned that if something like COVID can happen at any time, unannounced and without warning, I need to be in my very best shape to confront that challenge. In the way we expect hurricanes every fall, we now know to expect a future pandemic and that means fortifying our journey to optimum health.
Perhaps you have a family member or loved one who needs neck or back surgery or who should explore the option. Perhaps you are a potential candidate for life-changing surgery and you don’t know it.
Soon we will be resuming our favorite activities or commencing our commutes to work. Soon we will be returning to restaurants and larger social gatherings. Soon we will be able to fly across the country for big family weddings. As we all get our lives back, we need to ask ourselves certain key questions.
Now that we know better, seeking a surgical evaluation or solution is a way to act on the wisdom the pandemic gave us. In your self-reflection, think about the quality of life you deserve, or that your loved ones deserve from you. Let that epiphany elevate you over your fear, procrastination and excuses and give you the strength to take action. It’s not enough to simply survive — we must THRIVE.
For more information about possibilities that may benefit you or a loved one, contact New Jersey Neck & Back Institute.